Last Updated on March 10, 2023

La Fortuna is a city district in Alajuela Province, located North West of Costa Rica’s administrative city, San Jose. It’s inhabited by about 15,300 people, comprising nine different communities whose cultural and economic life relies heavily on the tourism industry.

The city’s geographical beauty, land fertility and successful tourism industry rightfully earned it the Spanish name of La Fortuna (meaning luck in English). To better understand this tropical city, let’s explore some of the best things to do while on a vacation in the land of mountains, waterfalls and hot springs.

1. A visit to Arenal Volcano Mountains 

Located 6 miles from the city, Arenal Volcano is an active volcanic mountain that stands at 5840 feet above the sea level and is known to be among top ten active volcanoes in the world. 

From a distance, Arenal Volcano’s view depicts an almost perfect cone, with furrows cutting along its crater right down its base (shrouded with occasional cloud formation usually heralding the arrival of cold weather). This is one of the most beautiful landscapes in La Fortuna.

At a cost of just $85, the entire Arenal Volcano Mountains can be explored with the added benefit of rejuvenating your health and well being through activities like hiking, camping and mountain biking.

2. A visit to Rio Celeste Waterfall in Tenorio national Park

View of water cascading from the La Fortuna waterfall.
Water cascading from the La Fortuna waterfall. Courtesy of Deposit Photos

Be it swimming, bathing, or walks through nature, Rio Celeste waterfalls offer a superb experience.

These waters emerge from a dark green vegetation that surrounds the falls, which is so thick it makes it impossible to determine the source of the water, especially if you’re standing at the base.

The intense blue of the falls is caused by mineral rocks beneath the surface of the water. Paired with the lush greenery surrounding it, the contrast of the electric blue waterfalls makes for a magnificent photo opportunity.

Such a unique combination of beauty and scenery can only be encountered at La Fortuna.

3. A Visit to the Butterfly Conservatory

For nature lovers, La Fortuna butterfly conservatory is a place you won’t want to miss. The project contains the largest collection of butterflies in Costa Rica, and focuses on educating people about the life-cycle and metamorphosis of the species.

Beside butterflies, the conservatory acts as sanctuary for other rain forest creatures, such as chameleons, frogs, birds and other small animals and insects.

To make for easier understanding, the conservatory is zoned into various sections depending on altitude and forest density: the lowland section, the highland section, the edge of the forest section and inside the forest section.

Depending on your interest and how much time you have to spare, you are guaranteed an unrivaled experience in whichever section you choose to explore.

4. El Salto Swimming Hole and Tarzan Swings

El Salto is one of the most popular tourist attraction spots favored by both locals and tourists.

For low budget travelers (there’s no entrance fee), you can experience wading through the rushing river, going for a dip in the swimming hole or trying the adrenaline-spiking “Tarzan” rope swing.

The spot is divided into two areas: the major pool which is located at the base of the waterfall and the second pool, located east of El Salto’s main pool. For tourists or locals seeking thrills, El Salto is the place to be.

5. A Visit to Chifa la Familia Feliz

If you’re looking for a unique restaurant that offers both traditional and fusion cuisine, look no further than Chifa la Familia Feliz.

Chifa means “Chinese food” in Peruvian Spanish so, in keeping with its name, the restaurant’s menu is largely Peruvian, peppered with classic Chinese dishes such as sour pork.

The restaurant caters to every preference, offering plenty of vegan and vegetarian options too. The waiting staff are kind and attentive; you’re guaranteed good food and service.

6. A Tour in a Sky Tram

The Sky Tram offers an exceptional view of the Arenal rain forest and surrounding terrain. The gondolas move slowly through the forest, allowing tourists time to take in the natural beauty and snap a few photos along the way.

Once you get to the top, you can try the Sky Trek, which is a zip line adventure all the way back to the base of the mountain. There is a choice of 8 different zip lines to ride, each one covering a different route.

Each participant will be kitted out in a safety harness and helmet, and will be given clear instructions on how to ride the zip lines.

The tours operate on strict time schedules, to ensure the tourists protection and maximum enjoyment, so be sure to arrive promptly.

7. Relaxation in Hot Springs

View of the calming waters of a hot spring in La Fortuna.
The calming waters of a hot spring in La Fortuna. Courtesy of Deposit Photos

A trip to La Fortua isn’t complete without visiting the hot springs. We recommend Baldi or Laguna, but there are countless others to choose from. The springs geothermal waters ensure perfect temperatures to bathe safely in.

They are mostly situated alongside luxury hotels in the city of La Fortuna, but there are some along the nature trails and waterfall hikes if you prefer a more unrefined (and less expensive) experience.

This is one of, if not the, most popular tourist activities in La Fortuna and it would be a shame not to experience it. From anywhere between $0 to $49, you c

8. Bungee Jumping 

Nothing spikes an adrenaline rush like plunging from a height of 150 meters. La Balsa adventure park offers zip lines, rope swings, nature trails and, most importantly, bungee jumps.

Participants will have the opportunity to plummet from a trestle bridge over the Balsa river all the way down to the water’s surface.

The adventure center is situated outside of the city, but buses depart from all major hotels in La Fortuna.

9. A tour through the hanging bridges

With a length of 3 meters spanning across the forest, the Arenal hanging bridge allows tourists to pass through two distinct regions of the forest, separated by altitude – lowland and highland forest.

The bridges are a complete nature-immersive experience, with more than 300 species of birds and over 700 species of plants.

If you want a more unconventional option, try the night time tour, where the forest is submerged in darkness and illuminated only by the light of your torches.


Though a small city in Costa Rica, La Fortuna’s geographically strategic location has made it a top contributor to Cosat Rica’s tourism industry. A trip to La Fortuna cannot be complete without first visiting the Arenal volcanoes, followed by the surrounding waterfalls and rain forest. Experience the relaxing effect of mineral-rich hot springs, swim in the crystal clear waters of El Salto and discover different butterfly species in the conservatory. La Fortuna has everything the adventurer, nature lover or family vacationer could ever want.

We hope you enjoy your trip!


  • rovology

    Rovology is leveraging advice from Vagabonds, Tourists, Digital Nomads, Wayfarers and Travel Writers to give our readers a guide on the best things to do no matter where they go.